January 14, 2019 Healthy Living

16 Family-Friendly Winter Festivals in the Capital Region and Beyond

If winter has you or your family members going a little stir-crazy, take heart! Our community hosts a number of fun, sometimes wacky winter festivals that will help you embrace the season and the great outdoors, whether there’s snow on the ground or not.

The 16 events listed offer something for everyone, including ice sculptures, snow bowling, parades, swing dancing, broomball, ice skating, cardboard box sledding, ice golf, snowshoe and outhouse races, wildlife tracking, kids’ crafts, fireworks, and food sampling, to name just a few. As event schedules are subject to change, be sure to check the event website or call for the latest details.

If you know of a family-friendly festival in the CDPHP service area that is not listed here, don’t hesitate to tell us about it. Otherwise, grab your warm winter gear and head out for some fun activities that will dispel those winter blahs!


Long Lake Winter Carnival – Saturday, January 19

Hours: 12 noon to 11 p.m.
Location: Mt. Sabattis, 6 Pavilion Way Long Lake, NY 12847
Cost: Free
For more information: Call (518) 323-5001 or visit mylonglake.com/winter-carnival.

At this event, you’ll be able to view fabulous ice sculptures and the annual crowning of the carnival king and queen, join the snowmobile parade, or compete in the cardboard sledding race, ladies frying pan toss, men’s caber toss, or team broomball match, among other activities. Enjoy lunch provided by the local fire department, as well as a bonfire and an evening fireworks display.


Northville Winterfest – Saturday, January 26

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Throughout the village of Northville
Cost: Free
For more information: Visit the event Facebook page: Winterfest 2019 Northville, NY or www.villageofnorthville.com/events/winterfest/

Family-friendly activities abound at this event, which is sponsored by the Northville Rotary. Activities include pony rides, snow mini-golf, turkey bowling, demonstrations of curling, ice fishing, and axe throwing, bouncy houses, snow sculptures, and ice skating, among others. Food and hot beverages will be available throughout the event. Maps and event passports are available at the school gym, along Main Street, and at the Northville Lake spillway. If you have your passport stamped at each activity station, you can enter a drawing for a chance to win a $450 grand prize.


Grafton Lakes Winter Fest – Saturday, January 26

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: 100 Grafton Lakes State Park Way, Grafton, NY
Admission: Free
For more information: Call (518) 279-1155 or email elizabeth.wagner@parks.ny.gov.

The 34th annual Winter Fest features a host of activities for all ages.  You can watch the Polar Plunge at Long Pond, and then head over to Welcome Center to take in an exhibit of live birds of prey and reptiles.  There will be face painting, crafts, and balloon creations for the kids, as well as snow playing, fort building, snowshoe races, and a snowball throwing contest. All ages will enjoy ice diving and search-and-rescue demonstrations, animal signs and tracking, guided hikes, snowmobile rides (conditions permitting), horse and carriage rides, Newfoundland Club dog wagon rides, and more.  Refreshments – from hot cocoa to hot chili – will be served.

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Saranac Lake Winter Carnival – Friday, February 1 to Sunday, February 10

Hours: Variable, depending on the day; for a detailed schedule, visit www.saranaclakewintercarnival.com/schedule
Location: Multiple sites, Village of Saranac Lake, NY
Admission: Free for most events. Please refer to the schedule of events for those that charge admission
For more information:  Visit www.saranaclakewintercarnival.com.

The main attraction of this unique, 10-day, multi-faceted, prehistoric-themed winter carnival is a gigantic ice palace, crafted of ice harvested from Lake Flower.  The event, which opens and closes with a stunning fireworks display, offers attendees access to a wide array of activities that will delight and surprise them.  There will be exhibitions of curling, figure skating, and woodsmen skills; athletic competitions like Arctic golf, flowerball, ski racing, snow rugby, snowshoe softball, broomball, and kids’ skating and inner tube races; performances including a variety show, murder mystery, and baroque concert; as well as a chocolate festival, parade, and sales of crafts, books, and baked goods. If you get hungry after all those activities, food options range from a pancake breakfast to a spaghetti dinner, chili sale, and royal banquet.


Saratoga Annual Chowderfest – Saturday, February 2

Hours11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
LocationMultiple venues in Saratoga Springs, NY
Cost$1/cup of chowder
For more information: Email Connie at connie@discoversaratoga.org or call (518) 584-1531

More than 80 vendors participate in this popular chowder cook-off, which attracts thousands of attendees.  Try as many chowder samples as you can, then vote for your favorites.  As you stroll Saratoga’s picturesque downtown, you can enjoy live music, games, photo opportunities, and a number of kids’ activities.


Lake George Winter Carnival – Saturday, February 2 to Sunday, February 24

HoursVaries, depending on the day; for a detailed schedule, visit www.lakegeorgewintercarnival.com/schedule/
Location: Multiple locations in Lake George Village, NY
Admission: Free
For more information: Call (518) 240-0809, send a Facebook message, or visit their Facebook event page

Each year since 1961, Lake George has hosted winter carnival activities spanning all four weekends in February.  Attendees are treated to a range of engaging demonstrations and activities, including Zumba workouts, outhouse races, a keg toss, Sno-Cross races on ice (weather permitting), bonfires, fireworks, the ever-popular “Dogs Got Talent” show, cornhole contests, and culinary cook-offs, as well as arts and crafts, face painting, and games for the kids.


East Meredith Ice Harvest Festival – Saturday, February 2

Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
LocationHanford Mills Museum, 51 County Highway 12, East Meredith, NY
Admission: Free for children 12 and under and museum members; $9 for adults and teens; $7 for seniors (Additional information on admission and discounts is available here.)
For more information: Email Liz Callahan at lizc@hanfordmills.org, call (607) 278-5744, or visit www.hanfordmills.org/ice-harvest-festival-at-hanford-mills-museum-winters-coolest-tradition/.

Take a step back into history at the 30th annual Ice Harvest Festival and get authentic, hands-on experience in the age-old tradition of ice harvesting, an activity that was essential before refrigerators were invented.  Attendees can also enjoy ice carving, blacksmithing, demonstrations of historic cooking practices and ice fishing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, a snowman village, a hot soup buffet, bonfire, and exhibits by local vendors and farmers.

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Old Forge Winter Carnival – Friday, February 8 to Sunday, February 10

Hours: Variable, depending on the day
Location: McCauley Mountain, 300 McCauley Mt Road Old Forge, NY 13420
Admission: Free
For more information: www.adirondack.net/event/winter-carnival-68358/

Three days and nights of outdoor fun await you at McCauley Mountain’s winter carnival. There, you can compete in a cardboard sled race, snow sculpture contest, and/or snowflake derby, go on a wintertime scavenger hunt, witness an Olympic parade and alpine ski demonstrations, and enjoy live music.  Then warm up by the bonfire and roast s’mores while you watch a fantastic fireworks display.


Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park Winter Fest – Saturday, February 9

Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: Camp Saratoga, 80 Scout Road Gansevoort, NY 12831
Admission: Free; snowshoe and cross-country ski rentals available for a fee
For more information: Visit www.saratoga.com/event/wilton-wildlife-56033/ or email info@wiltonpreserve.org.

Abandon your couch or video game and venture outdoors for some winter fun.  Begin your day with an 8-kilometer snowshoe race, then join other participants in sipping hot cocoa and making s’mores at the bonfire next to the lodge.


Indian Lake SnoCade – Friday, February 15 to Saturday, February 23

Hours: Variable, depending on the day
Location: Various locations, 6301 NY-30 Indian Lake, NY
Admission: Free, but some events involve a fee
For more information: Call the Town of Indian Lake events coordinator at (518) 648-5828 or email indianlakeevents@gmail.com.

This multi-faceted event takes place over President’s Week. Highlights include “tricky tray,” sales of books, baked goods, and crafts, community snow sculptures, snowmobile rides, a spaghetti dinner, cold water rescue demonstration, murder mystery dinner theater, comedy performances, live music, a community “knit-in,” as well as competitive activities such as the frying pan toss, torch run, frisbee golf, outdoor human foosball, and pickleball and pool tournaments. For the kids, there are games, Kitty Kat and cardboard sled races, a snowman contest, and a snowshoe softball tournament. A bonfire and fireworks display round out the event’s offerings.

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The Flurry Festival – Friday, February 15 to Sunday, February 17

Hours: Friday: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.,  Saturday: 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Saratoga Springs City Center, 522 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY
Admission: Varies according to age; discounts available in advance and for students, seniors, military personnel, and festival organization members
For more information: Call (518) 384-3275 or visit www.flurryfestival.org.

Dancers and music lovers of all ages, rejoice!   The Flurry Festival is back, and the event, now in its 32nd year, has a full lineup of international music, dance, singing, jamming, and storytelling suitable for all ages and abilities, from novice to advanced. The event features more than 300 performers and 250 events spanning four venues, with world-wide dance styles ranging from traditional contra and swing to zydeco, tap, Appalachian clogging, African, Tahitian, Cuban, and more. If dancing’s not your thing but you enjoy playing or listening to music, you’re in luck! There will be music instruction workshops, concerts, storytelling, and demonstrations, as well as jam session galore.

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Brant Lake Winter Carnival – Saturday, February 16

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Location: Jimbo’s Club at the Point, 7201 State Rte. 8, Brant Lake, NY
For more information: Call (518) 494-3016 or check out their Facebook event page

Come to Brandt Lake for winter fun with a wacky twist! Watch as contestants race outhouses that have been decorated and outfitted with skis, enjoy the popular frying pan toss, compete in a game of snowshoe softball, or go ice skating and sledding. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities, as well. The day will end with a bonfire and fireworks at dusk, as well as music by Stony Creek Band.


Raquette Lake Winter Carnival – Saturday, February 16 and Sunday, February 17

Hours: 12 p.m. to dusk
Location: Village Green, Raquette Lake, NY
Admission: Free
For more information: Call (518) 624-3077 or visit www.adirondack.net/event/winter-carnival-68604/

Carnival festivities kick off with a number of events for youth, and throughout the day, there will be various athletic competitions, cardboard sled races, and a roaring bonfire, as well as a ladies’ frying pan toss.  The event will be capped by a fireworks display at dusk.


Winterfest 2019: Han Snowlo – Sunday, February 17

Hours: 12 to 3 p.m.
Location: Hudson Crossing Park, County Road 42, Schuylerville, NY
Cost: Free
For more information: Visit the Hudson Crossing Park website or email info@hudsoncrossingpark.org.

Enjoy an afternoon of free, family-centered, StarWars-themed adventure at the Hudson Crossing Park Winterfest.  The event features Planet Hoth ice experiments, ice harvesting and ice fishing on the canal, a cold water rescue demonstration, “Sled-I” sledding, snow bowling, kids’ crafts, horse-drawn sleigh rides, a crazy hat head contest, pizza from 9 Miles East, and more!


Frozen Fire & Lights – Saturday, February 23

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: Various sites in Inlet, NY, including Fern Park (11 Loomis Road) and Arrowhead Park (160 Route 28)
Admission: Free
For more information: Visit www.inletny.com/inlet/frozen-fire-lights-0

Attendees of this carnival can chose from a wide array of indoor and outdoor activities, including kite decorating and flying, face painting, cardboard sled races, ski shoe demonstrations, a book sale, wine and chocolate sampling, sledding, ice skating, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.  (Bring your own gear or rent from Pedals & Petals.) A bonfire, complete with treats, and a fireworks display close out the event.


Krazy Downhill Derby – Saturday, February 23

Hours: Registration begins at 11 a.m.
Location: Dynamite Hill Recreation Area, Dynamite Hill Rd., Chestertown, NY
Admission: Free
For more information: Call (518) 494-2722 or visit www.visitlakegeorge.com/events/krazy-downhill-derby.

Hosted by the North Warren Chamber of Commerce, the highlight of this event is a fun and competitive race showcasing unique and whimsical sleds designed and built by families, businesses, and kids. Four persons per sled are allowed, and helmets are a must.  In prior years, the creations have included a mermaid, firetruck, fish, racecar, and submarine, among others. Certificates and prizes are awarded in several categories, including fastest, most creative, and funniest. Refreshments are served in the ski hut.

Adele O'Connell
About the Author

Adele joined CDPHP in 2004 as an internal communications and event specialist. She then spent eight years coordinating the company’s community relations and corporate events program, in which capacity she worked with a host of non-profit organizations and co-chaired the CDPHP annual Charity of Choice campaign. Currently, she is a communications specialist and coordinator of corporate member engagement and serves on the boards of two local charities. Prior to CDPHP, Adele served as a legislative assistant for a trade association and as an acquisitions and developmental editor, specializing in educational and medical publishing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Rosemont College.

4 Responses to “16 Family-Friendly Winter Festivals in the Capital Region and Beyond”

  1. Wally Elton

    I’d also like to mention that Hudson Crossing Park near Schuylerville, NY, will be holding its 4th annual Winterfest event on Sunday, February 17 from noon to 3 p.m. This year’s event is called “Han Snowlo: A Winterfest Story.” For more information, visit http://www.HudsonCrossingPark.org.

    • Adele O'Connell

      Wally, thank you for sharing the information on the Hudson Crossing Park winter festival. We’re pleased to add it to our list of regional festivals.


    No winter carnival at Indian Meadows, Glenville?

    • Adele O'Connell

      Hi Gloria – Thanks for reaching out! If you have details about this winter carnival you can provide us with, we can update the listing.

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